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Raleigh Looks to Put 'No Smoking' Signs in Parks

Posted October 24, 2007

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— City officials are examining the idea of adding public parks to the list of places where smokers can't light up.

The matter has been referred to a committee headed by City Parks Superintendent Scott Payne after local resident Greg Grady complained to Mayor Charles Meeker about smoking in Pullen Park. In an e-mail to Meeker, Grady wrote that the park was littered with cigarette butts and that children were being exposed to second-hand smoke.

"Part of the intrinsic value of a trip to the park with your children is the feeling that you are introducing them to a reasonably safe and clean environment," Grady wrote in the e-mail. "When one has to pry cigarette butts from their kids' hands three or four times over a two-hour period as well as ask a stranger to please move a few more feet away from my child with their lit cigarette, then that feeling is dramatically altered."

"It's an interesting issue," Payne said. "Certain states, at the state level, have in place state laws banning smoking in proximity to playgrounds."

U.S. researchers found this year that even brief exposure to second-hand smoke in bars can result in a toxin that's known to cause lung cancer.

That research led state lawmakers to pass a bill that banned smoking in all state-owned or -leased buildings, including
college campuses. But the General Assembly defeated a bill that would have snuffed out smoking in public spaces like restaurants.

Wake County and Raleigh have banned smoking in government buildings, and area hospitals and schools have also gone tobacco-free.

Payne said his committee, which is likely weeks away from submitting any recommendations to the City Council, is considering restricting smoking in all city parks, especially in and around children's play areas.

"There's a lot of research out there," he said. "There's research at the state level, research from the Centers for Disease Control (and Prevention)."


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  • oldrebel Oct 25, 2007

    Let's go ahead and outlaw spitting, sneezing, burping and making snide remarks in the parks. Or better yet, outlaw all human activity in parks, and let them return to nature.

  • Tibby Oct 25, 2007

    ok yeah exhaust is worse than cigarette smoke (I was typing faster than I was thinking).
    well, they're your lungs, your body-smoke all you want. Smoke until your teeth and nails rot, you get sick then die. Just don't spread it around. It stinks and really burns my throat

  • Travised Oct 25, 2007

    It would be the same as a vegetarian going to a steak and rib restraunt asking for a non meat burger (laugh).

    We are going downhill fast.

  • gpd Oct 25, 2007

    The complaint that kept my friend's idea from seeing light of day was that non-smokers couldn't go because there would be smoking. It's very confusing but his permits were refused because an "all smoking" establishment wouldn't accomodate non-smokers who didn't want to be around smoke. My dog even tilted his head when I tried to explain it to him.

    If you're a non smoker, why would you want to go to an all smoking establishment? They complained that it was excluding them.

  • nofear Oct 25, 2007

    I wonder if you open a member only smoking place, would that work. Restaurants are starting to force smokers to sit outside to eat and smoke. Can we smokers sue for not being able to smoke in side. Discrimination, will there be a back door for us too.

  • Travised Oct 25, 2007

    GPD, I like the sound of that establishment!!! If non smokers want to come in they can't complain should be the policy. They should have to sign a waiver! It's hard to find a place where you can smoke a cigar today without people complaining. Restraunts are not "public parks", they are private enterprises. It seems that concept is hard for some people to understand.

    Banning smoking in parks is the same as banning it on sidewalks, or banning wearing perfume in the park or on the sidewalk or walkway in downtown. That stretch is just an extention of "public space". Don't give up your freedoms just because you dislike smokers. Pretty soon we will all have to dress in pinstripes and blue suits and look like the IBM "robot" suits. Can't tell one worker bee from the other.

  • gpd Oct 25, 2007

    Try opening an all smokers business in Raleigh. When a friend of ours tried to open a "smoking bar" in a neighboring town he was told "no way". Why not? Because non-smokers petitioned saying that it was "excluding" them from visiting the bar.

    Go figure? Sounds like the "we want to be in control" attitude to me.

  • hedgy_one Oct 25, 2007

    Banning smoking in public parks is ridiculous!!! Smokers should have some rights, too. If littering is the problem, then ban eating & drinking from parks, too.... some people throw down their paper & cups! People can move away from smokers if they don't want to be around them. Most smokers (me, anyway) enjoy their cigarettes & do try not to be offensive in public places. Give me a break!

  • Travised Oct 25, 2007


    People go into an alergic reaction with dogs, some serious enough to be brought into the hospital and be given massive amounts of drugs to assist breathing. Don't forget the weekly news aboud dogs attacking people, and the deaths caused by the maulings, often times children. Yes dogs are deadly. #3 deadly dog is the German Shepard, a dog you don't expect to be violent.

  • nofear Oct 25, 2007

    I have a friend that lives in an apartment in Cary, the complex banned all smoking on the property. So he moved somewhere else and he does not smoke. If you want to smoke, fire one up.
    There are too many cheifs and not enough indians.